Originally created 12/30/98

Paine falls short against Crusaders



Paine had its opportunities but couldn't convert the easy, unguarded 15-footers.

The Lions shot a paltry 11-of-31 from the free-throw line and lost to Belmont Abbey 90-85 in overtime in the Augusta State Holiday Classic on Tuesday night.

Paine (3-4) missed 11 consecutive free throws in the first half en route to a 3-of-15 performance. In the second half it didn't get any better, as the Lions converted only 6-of-13 from the line.

"We had an opportunity to win the game, but just didn't get it done," Paine coach Ron Spry said. "Free throw shooting was the key factor in the game."

Belmont Abbey (5-4) held its biggest lead of the game at 62-53 after an Israel Sturdivant lay-in with 8:24 left in the game. But Paine went on a 14-0 run capped by Christopher Neal's inside lay-in with 6:00 remaining to take a 67-62 lead.

On the strength of their inside game, the Crusaders came back and took a 74-73 lead on Mike Hudson's inside lay-up with 2:04 left in the game. Sturdivant converted 1-of-2 free throws with :07 remaining to give Belmont Abbey a 77-75 lead.

Down by two, Paine's Byron Simmons banked in an off-balance runner in the lane to tie the game at 77-all with :01 left to send the game into overtime.

From there, Belmont Abbey took an 86-85 lead with :41 left in overtime. The Crusaders then made four free throws in a row for the final margin.

"Paine is scrappy and we just happened to make our free throws at the end," said Belmont Abbey coach Dip Metress, whose team converted 9-of-10 free throws in overtime. "It was a great game to watch, but a horrible game to coach."

Paine shot 39 percent from the floor on 33-of-84 shooting. Christopher Neal led the Lions with 30 points. Anthony Robinson and Mac Young had double-doubles for Paine as Robinson racked up 16 rebounds and 11 points, while Young added 18 points and 10 rebounds.